The Best Sugar Cookie Recipes For Christmas

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What would Christmas be without sweet, fragrant sugar cookies, soft and warm from the oven?

Understanding Sugar Cookies

When it comes to Christmas sugar cookies, you've got two basic choices:

  • Drop cookies: Make these cookies by dropping spoonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet. These are the quickest and easiest option, but don't allow for much decoration.
  • Roll cookies: You'll need to chill and roll out the dough before cutting it into cookie shapes. Roll cookies take a little longer, but you get flat, easy-to-decorate and professional-looking cookies in crisp shapes.

If you're pressed for time, try this easy recipe:

Drop Sugar Cookies

  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1-cup butter
  • 1-cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2½ tablespoons milk or soymilk.
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, thoroughly cream butter and sugar.
  4. Beat egg and vanilla into the butter and sugar mixture.
  5. Add dry mixture gradually, and gently beat until smooth.
  6. Mix in the milk.
  7. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonful onto greased cookie sheets, leaving about 3 inches between each cookie.
  8. Bake about 10 minutes, or until the cookies begin to brown.

If you want to shape your cookies, try:

Roll Sugar Cookies

  • 3/4 cups butter, softened
  • 1 1/8 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt.
  1. Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Beat in vanilla and eggs.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.
  4. Gently stir dry ingredients into wet mixture.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 400.
  7. Roll out dough to a thickness of ¼ to ½ inch on floured surface.
  8. Cut into holiday shapes with cookie cutters.
  9. Transfer cookies to ungreased cookie sheets, about an inch apart.
  10. Bake about seven minutes.
Ready for Planting Finished Product

Adding Some Holiday Flavors

One way to tailor sugar cookies for the holidays is to incorporate classic Christmas flavors and scents. Your guest will love:

Cinnamon-Spice Sugar Cookies

  • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • ¾ tablespoon ground ginger
  • ½ tablespoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom.
  1. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream butter, brown sugar and ¼ cup of the white sugar.
  3. Beat egg and vanilla into butter-sugar mixture.
  4. Gently blend in dry flour mixture.
  5. Divide dough into 3 equal parts.
  6. Roll into logs 2 inches in diameter.
  7. Wrap logs, and refrigerate at least four hours.
  8. Preheat oven to 350.
  9. Mix remaining ½ cup of white sugar and spices on a piece of wax paper.
  10. Unwrap dough logs, and roll in the spiced sugar.
  11. Cut spice coated logs into ¼ inch slices, and arrange on ungreased cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart.
  12. Bake 12 to 15 minutes.

Peppermint-Chocolate Chip Sugar Cookies

  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1-cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • ¼ cup crushed hard peppermint candies
  • ¼ cup milk chocolate chips
  • Additional powdered sugar for coating.
  1. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. In a separate large bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar.
  3. Beat in eggs and peppermint extract.
  4. Gently and gradually, beat in flour mixture.
  5. Mix in crushed peppermint and chocolate chips.
  6. Form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least an hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  8. Prepare two cookie sheets with nonstick spray.
  9. Create one-inch dough balls and roll them in powdered sugar.
  10. Arrange dough balls on cookie sheets, about two inches apart and flatten with a fork.
  11. Bake about 10 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown.

Adding Fruits and Nuts

Transform your cookies into mini fruitcakes with this easy variation:

Christmas Fruitcake Sugar Cookies

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¾ cup other mixed dried fruits and chopped nuts
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt.
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Cream butter and sugar.
  3. Beat in egg, cinnamon and vanilla.
  4. Gradually mix in flour, baking soda and salt.
  5. Pour in raisins, mixed dried fruits and nuts, and gently mix until evenly distributed.
  6. Drop half teaspoonfuls of batter onto greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Decadent Sugar Cookies

Go wild with this deliciously rich recipe:

Sour Cream-Chocolate Sugar Cookies

  • 1-cup butter
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate liquor
  • 1-cup sour cream
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Beat in eggs, sour cream, vanilla and chocolate liquor
  3. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and gently blend into wet mixture.
  4. Cover and chill overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 350.
  6. Roll dough to about 1/8 inch thickness on lightly floured surface and cut with cookie cutters.
  7. Arrange on ungreased cookie sheets about an inch apart and bake eight to 10 minutes until lightly browned.

Extra Christmas Touches

To give your cookies a holiday look, try these decorative touches:

  • Red and green sugar, icing or frosting
  • Holiday sprinkles
  • Gold and silver confectioner's balls
  • Pearl sugar
  • Raisins and small candies.

Enjoy a sweet holiday season with easy and delicious Christmas sugar cookies.


Last Updated: December 19, 2011
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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